Canine Distemper Rise In The UAE: Here's What You Need To Know

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Posted in: Pet Health, Animal Care, Dogs

Canine Distemper Rise In The UAE: Here's What You Need To Know

Canine Distemper Rise In The UAE: Here's What You Need To Know


The term ‘distemper’ might puzzle you as it is a fairly new discovery here in the UAE. This deadly disease is slowly rising between dogs in the community and is now becoming a cause for concern. Although many dog’s are vaccinated against it, many local vet clinics suspect a new strain spreading amongst canines. Let’s learn more about this disease below.


What is Distemper?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Distemper is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems.

The virus can also be found in wildlife such as foxes, wolves, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, mink and ferrets and has been reported in lions, tigers, leopards and other wild cats as well as seals.

What are the symptoms?

After being infected, most dogs might develop a fever approximately 3-to-6 days later, however the initial symptoms depend on the severity of the case and how the canine’s body reacts to it. Most general symptoms in the first stage are:

  • Fever
  • Clear nasal discharge
  • Purulent eye discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pustular dermatitis (rarely)
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord

How does it spread?

Distemper can spread through direct contact with an infected dog from exchange of saliva while using the same food/water bowls or through exposure of particles in the air. 

What precautionary measures can be taken?

As there could be a potentially new strain of this disease in the UAE, it would be best to not socialize your dog in open dog-friendly areas. Members of the renowned Facebook group ‘Dogs in Dubai’ are urging pet parents to get their dog’s ‘VacciCheck’ which is a simple blood test carried out by many vet clinics in the region. VacciCheck helps determine if your dog still remains protected against core diseases like Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus or if he still requires necessary booster shots.

Some of the UAE Veterinary clinics that provide VacciCheck:

  1. The Veterinary Hospital, Dubai
  2. The Modern Veterinary Clinic, Dubai (Open 24/7)
  3. SaBB Veterinary Clinic and Laboratory, Dubai 
  4. DKC Veterinary Clinic, Dubai 

For more information about VacciCheck rates and test results, kindly contact one of the above vet clinics or get in touch with your pet’s vet to check availability. In an unfortunate scenario where your dog may carry any of the above mentioned symptoms, contact your Vet to take immediate action and to get professional medical help for your Dog.

As pet parents, we must take all the necessary steps to ensure your furry friends are safe and outreach from distemper and any other deadly viruses.


Sources: American Kennel Club; American Veterinary Medical Association; Al Arabiya News; Dogs in Dubai Facebook Group

May 17
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